2009-10 Class 4A State Finals Recap

March 27, 2010

North Central's disruptive defense and full-court pressure forced 24 turnovers that led to 33 points in a 95-74 victory over Warsaw in the Class 4A state championship game.

Coach Doug Mitchell's third-ranked Panthers won their second state title and the first since 1999. The Panthers' 95 points shattered the record for State Finals scoring in the multi-class system.   Only one team in the 100-year history of the state tournament scored more in a title game -- Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, which had 97 against Gary Roosevelt in 1955.

Terone Johnson led North Central's relentless attack with 26 points. Ronnie Johnson added 17 points, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 16 and Darius Latham scored 14.

The Panthers set the tempo for their victory with a 20-2 run in the first half that gave them an early 32-14 lead. They led by 20, 46-26, at the half.

Coach Doug Ogle's sixth-ranked Warsaw team fell short in its bid for the school's second state title and first since 1984. Nic Moore led the Tigers with 28 points before fouling out with 41.3 seconds left in the third quarter. Lucas Grose scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Justin Clemens added 11 points.

North Central finished the season 25-3. Warsaw was 23-3.

The evening session games (3A and 4A) drew a sold out crowd of 18,366 fans, the largest gathering since 1998 and the fifth sellout in the last six years. This year's four games drew 30,741.

Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Justin Clemens of Warsaw High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 4A Boys Basketball.

Clemens currently ranks15th in his senior class of 457 students with a 12.4 GPA on a 12.0 scale and is a two-year member of the National Honor Society. He intends to study physical therapy at the University of Indianapolis beginning next fall.

Besides basketball, Clemens has competed in varsity football (quarterback) and track and will graduate as one of his school’s most decorated student athletes in history. He was named Academic All-State in football last fall and is a likely candidate for the honor in basketball.

Clemens was also one of three Warsaw teammates that were featured in the IHSAA’s Smoke-Free lifestyle campaign this winter.

He is the son of Gordon and Dana Clemens of Warsaw.

The award is named after the IHSAA’s first commissioner who served the Association from 1929 to 1944. The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Warsaw High School in the name of Clemens.


North Central Coach Doug Mitchell

“We finally wore them down. It’s what we’ve done to people all year long. We go ten or eleven deep and it payed off tonight.”

“Our depth wore them down. Nic Moore (Warsaw) is one guy and a heck of a player. But we had four guys chasing him and thank goodness he fouled out in the third quarter.”

“We get so much offense out of our defense. This is one of the most satisfying championships I’ve ever had. It was done with such a complete team effort in the ultimate team sport.”

Warsaw Coach Doug Ogle

“Well we just could not deal with North Central’s quickness and aggressive defense. You can’t really simulate it. They played very, very well in the first half and we did not. They’re very good, I’d say they’re not a normal high school basketball team.”

(On not having a player over 6’4”) “They don’t have a big guy but they’re quick and quickness is more important than being big. So there’s a lot to deal with and we didn’t handle it very well.”

(On Justin Clemens) “He epitomizes what you want in a Trester Award winner. He’s a tremendous student and one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever had. He listens. There is a lot of quality running through Justin Clemens.”